BACKGROUND: The type and source of health information supplied to patients following cardiac events significantly improve adherence and health behaviours. The impact of health information upon female patients, however, is not well documented. This study investigates women's recall of the type and source of information provided to them in hospital about resuming daily activities after a cardiac event. It also identified women least likely to recall receiving information. METHODS: Interviews were conducted with female cardiac patients consecutively admitted to four metropolitan hospitals after acute myocardial infarction or for coronary artery bypass graft surgery. The women were interviewed on admission and at 2, 4 and 12 months after discharge. Participants were asked about in-hospital information provision at the 2-month interview (n=224). RESULTS: Most women recalled receiving verbal information about medication, exercise and smoking cessation, but few recalled receiving verbal information about gardening, sexual activity, driving or sport. Women who were obese or physically inactive recalled limited advice about diet and physical activity, whereas women with diabetes or hypertension were no more likely than others to recall receiving information about medication, despite the personal relevance of this information. Older women were most at risk of recalling limited advice, including information about cardiac rehabilitation. Over half of the women attended a cardiac rehabilitation programme, with uptake being related to information provision. CONCLUSIONS: The findings support other research suggesting that advice about activities after a cardiac event is inadequate for some women and confirms the influence of information provision on participation in cardiac rehabilitation.